Employers wonder: Can we require workers to get the COVID vaccine?

“You’re going to have a lot more people who are lacking comfort about safety” of the vaccine after such a short development timeline, said Coburn. “Add on top of that the political issues that have unfortunately taken over. If someone’s not willing to wear a mask, do you think they’re going to put a shot in their body?”…

The biggest difference between requiring employees to take a vaccine for the coronavirus compared with the flu or other vaccines — which health-care organizations have long required — is that covid-19 vaccines are expected to first be available under an “emergency use authorization” rather than a full FDA licensure, Masling said. “To the best of my knowledge, the issue of whether an employer can require a vaccine that is still under an emergency use authorization hasn’t arose before,” she said, adding the EEOC might be “cautious about the guidance it will issue about a vaccine that has not yet received full approval.”

Once a coronavirus vaccine receives formal government approval, employment lawyers say it’s more likely to be treated like the flu shot, which can be mandated, even if it’s currently rare outside the health care field.